Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In-depth MEDLINE/PubMed field descriptions

The Bibliographic Services Division of the National Library of Medicine has produced a web page of MEDLINE/PubMed Data Element Descriptions . This document contains detailed descriptive information about each field within each MEDLINE/PubMed record - including the historical development of the particular field. I find this invaluable when I'm trying to search a specific field and get bizarre results. Sometimes the explanation is simply that, during the time period I'm looking at, it wasn't possible to search that way. For example, check out the history of the author field.

The Bibliographic Services Division advises that this information is supplemental and should be used in conjunction with PubMed Help. As a matter of fact, you should use the Search Field Tags section of PubMed Help for instructions and tips for field searching.


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